Even though you do everything right, you might still experience frightening situations of ignorance about diabetes in school. Reported incidents by families with diabetes range from frustrating to dangerous.
Some examples include refusing to allow children food or sending them to the office without assistance.First, it helps if your friends know about your diabetes and are involved in your management routine. A good friend can be invaluable—to stick up for you if need be, to help in an emergency, or to serve as moral support and help you stay on track.
So, what can you do if you are hassled?
The moment a problem arises (a snack is not allowed, for example), tell your parents. They should pay a visit to the teacher and principal to describe the problem and what should happen next time instead. "Utilize a problem-solving approach to come up with a solution that works for you and others in the classroom," says nurse Ruth E. Lundstrom at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Often when the teacher has a better understanding of diabetes, he or she may be less frightened of allowing special needs to be met."
Know your rights. If problems continue, have a doctor write a letter about your diabetes needs. If the problems get to the point where you feel you are at a last resort, you and your family may have to obtain an attorney, who can contact your school.
If you are confronted by an adult, stay calm and don't overreact. If a teacher asks about a device such as an insulin pump, keep your voice low and steady and explain what it is. Or, to avoid a scene, you could try, "Please take me to the nurse's office so I can show you that this is a medical device I must wear," in hopes of quickly and quietly leaving the area without making a big scene.
Now that you're ready, the most important news is the best news: More students experience positive school situations than nightmares. Most of you will enjoy fantastic support from classmates, teachers, school nurses, and principals.
If you follow some simple steps to help start the year off smoothly, chances are, you'll succeed with diabetes in school.